On Thursday February 5, 2009 we toured Shiloh Battlefield. It was a cool day and partly cloudy. It was the middle of winter and the terrain was devoid of cover. You could see quite a ways.
After geocaching around Bethel Springs, TN all morning, we headed for Shiloh Battlefield. We spent about four hours on a self-guided driving tour through the park, reading historical markers and exploring the battlefield by car and on foot. There were very few people there. We basically had the place to ourselves. Around 5:00 PM with dusk approaching, we headed out. As we drove by the Peach Orchard and the Bloody Pond, we decided to get a couple more pictures. We parked just beyond the Bloody Pond and had to delete some pictures from the camera since the memory was full.
As I adjusted the camera, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a man walking down the left hand side of the road behind us by the Peach Orchard. I blurted out “where the hell did he come from?” This person had literally just appeared in the blink of an eye. We had just driven through that area seconds earlier and there was no one there. Natasha looked in her mirror on the passenger side of the car and also saw the man. He appeared to be thin, medium height wearing loose fitting grey clothes. He was alone, had no hat and wasn’t carrying any equipment that we could see. We could not see his face. I figured it was someone walking their dog but there wasn’t one.
I didn’t want him walking up to the car, but figured we could get in the picture while keeping an eye on him. I backed up using the mirrors and had him in sight the whole time. As I was backing up, he was still walking but he wasn’t getting any closer. How weird is that?
We stopped at the Bloody Pond. I left the engine running, checked the guy in the mirror one last time and got out of the car, leaving the door open. I immediately looked down the road. He was gone.
I tried to spot him. There was no cover at all and the air was deathly still, but I saw and heard nothing. I even scanned the area with the 5x zoom on the camera and checked around the car thinking that we had closed in faster than expected. But the mystery walker had vanished seemingly into thin air.
As I moved around to get my pictures, Natasha was in the car still looking at the mirrors and – are you ready for this? – she could still see the guy. Meanwhile, I’m out there getting my pictures. Natasha finally leaned over and yelled out the door to hurry up. When she sat back up and checked the mirrors, the guy was gone. We didn’t see him again.
We got our pictures and drove down the road yucking it up about weirdos, banjo music and ghosts. It wasn’t until later that night when we compared notes that we realized something very out of the ordinary had happened.
An annotated overview of where this happened. We went back the next day to take these pictures. The road appears curved because it’s a poor attempt at a panoramic shot. The road was perfectly straight. The distance from where we started backing up to where this guy was walking was about 300 feet. We backed up halfway.
There were were several things about this encounter that were quite unusual. One, the man appeared out of nowhere from an area we had just driven through. We knew that no one was there. Two, we both immediately felt uneasy about this man. Three, this wasn’t some flash sighting out the corner of our eye. We watched him in the mirrors for at least three minutes. Four, even though he was walking, he didn’t seem to be getting any closer. We backed up almost half the distance to where the man was and nothing changed. Not only that, if someone is walking down a road and a car starts backing up towards them, you would expect there to be some sort of reaction. Slow down, stop, move off to the side, something defensive or precautionary. But the mystery man just kept on walking. Five, the man vanished from our view the same way he appeared, literally in the blink of an eye. Six – and this is the clincher – Natasha could still see the man in the mirror when he had vanished from my direct sight outside of the car. She watched him while I was taking pictures. We didn’t know that until we compared notes later.
We’ve gone over it many times since then trying to find a logical explanation for what we saw. So far, we haven’t come up with one. After doing some searching on the Internet, we came up with a number of reported sightings over the years of solitary figures and apparitions along the roads throughout the battlefield. They usually fit the description of a Confederate soldier.
We consider ourselves to be rational, level-headed people. Our opinion is that 99.99% of the things that go on in the world have a logical explanation but that there are forces and phenomena we can’t comprehend that make up the other .01%.
If someone out there in reader land has an explanation or a theory, we’re all ears. As for me, on that day, I went from skepticism and dismissal of this stuff to an open mind.
Did we actually see a ghost? You tell us. It’s our own geocaching X-File.
Good haunting … Boris and Natasha